Cafe Marly at the Louvre in Paris

Cafe Marly at the Louvre in Paris
Relax with a glass of wine at Cafe Marly overlooking the pyramid entrance to the Louvre.

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Berlin celebrates the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall

German Chancellor Angela Merkel chose the archives of the dreaded East German police to begin nearly a year of commemorations marking the 20th anniversary of the opening of the Berlin Wall. (The photos are the Brandenburg Gate and a remnant of the Berlin Wall).

The anniversary itself will be marked with a three-day festival from November 7-9 at the Brandenburg Gate, the symbol of Germany's postwar division and then of its unification. The gate lay for years behind the East Berlin side of the wall.

East and West Germany were reunited Nov. 9, 1990 - a year to the day after the wall fell.

Source: AOL News

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Running (or walking): A Great Way to See the Major Sights of Paris!

If you would like a pdf map of this run/walk, just email me at and I'll email you the map.

Approximate distance: five miles (two miles to place de l'Alma and three miles to Arc de Triomphe).

Take the metro (subway) to the Ecole Militaire stop.

You’ll see the huge Ecole Militaire (Royal Military Academy).

Now start running to the Eiffel Tower.

The Champ de Mars are the long gardens that stretch from the Ecole Militaire to the Eiffel Tower. Run under the fabulous Eiffel Tower. It’s without doubt the most recognizable structure in the world.

Run behind the Eiffel Tower and cross the bridge (the Pont d’Iéna).

Once you cross the bridge, you’ll see the huge Chaillot Palace surrounded by more than 60 fountains.

Turn right (as you face the palace) on the avenue de New York along the Seine River. Follow avenue de New York until you reach the Pont de l’Alma (the second bridge). At the place de l’Alma, you’ll see a replica of the torch of the Statue of Liberty.

The replica of the torch of the Statue of Liberty was erected here in 1987. It was meant to commemorate the French Resistance during World War II. It just happens to be over the tunnel where Princess Diana and her boyfriend Dodi Al-Fayedh were killed in an automobile crash in 1997. The Liberty Flame is now an unofficial shrine covered with notes, flowers and prayers to the dead princess.

If you’ve had enough running, here’s a good place to take the metro Alma Marceau back to your hotel. But if you want to continue, head down the avenue Marceau. It’s one of the streets off of place de l’Alma. It’s less than one mile on avenue Marceau to the Arc de Triomphe.

At the Arc de Triomphe, twelve avenues pour into the circle around the Arc. There’s an observation deck providing one of the greatest views of Paris down the Champs-Élysées.

Tired? If so, here’s a good place to take the métro Charles-de-Gaulle-Étoile back to your hotel. But if you want to continue, head down the Champs-Élysées.

The Champs-Élysées is one of the most famous in the world. At avenue Winston-Churchill you can gaze at the recently renovated Grande and Petit Palais.

Continue down the Champs-Élysées until you reach the huge place de la Concorde.

At the end of your run, admire the huge place de la Concorde. In the center of these 21 acres stands the Obelisk of Luxor, an Egyptian column from the 13th century covered with hieroglyphics. It was here that Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were guillotined during the French Revolution.

Here, you’ll end your run/walk of the great sights of Paris!

The Best Paris Markets

If nothing else, food markets are very interesting. Though you may feel intimidated by the wild goings-on (not to mention the sights and smells) it is absolutely worth a trip to see a real outdoor Parisian market. Filled with colorful vendors, stinky cheese, fresh produce, poultry and hanging rabbits, this is real Paris at its most diverse and beautiful. Parisians still shop (some every day) at food markets around the city. Unless noted otherwise, all are open Tuesday through noon on Sunday. Some of the best-known are:

Rue Montorgueil, 1st/Métro Les Halles
Rue Mouffetard, 5th/Métro Censier-Daubenton
Rue de Buci, 6th/Métro Mabillon
Marché Raspail, 6th/Métro Rennes (open Sunday) (organic)
Rue Cler, 7th/Métro École Militaire
Marché Bastille on the boulevard Richard Lenoir,
11th/Métro Bastille (open Thursday and Sunday)
Rue Daguerre, 14th/Métro Denfert-Rochereau
Rue Poncelet, 17th/Métro Ternes

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Spain expands its high-speed train lines

Spain has expanded its high-speed (AVE) train lines. Here are the existing high-speed routes:

Madrid to Seville (including a stop in Córdoba)
Madrid to Segovia (ending in Valladolid)
Madrid to Barcelona (with stops including Zaragoza)
Barcelona to Seville (via Zaragoza, Córdoba and Madrid)
Barcelona to Málaga (via Zaragoza, Córdoba and Madrid)
Madrid to Huesca (via Guadalajara, Calatayud and Zaragoza)
Madrid to Málaga (via Ciudad Real, Puertollano, Córdoba and Antequera)

These routes significantly cut down on travel time between Spain's main tourist destinations. For more information, check out